How to Carve Bone Into Jewlery

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Introduction: How to Carve Bone Into Jewlery

In this instructable I will be teaching you how to carve bone into tribal pendants, or anything really.
Carving bone is a cheap fun hobby that takes up a lot of time. After just a few days you may be able to make something impressive. But as I understand it takes many years to master.

Step 1: Tools and Materials You Will Need

You will absolutely need these items
A RESPIRATOR, BONE DUST... OR ANY FINE DUST FOR THAT MATTER IS  VERY BAD FOR YOUR LUNGS ABSOLUTELY DO NOT START THIS PROJECT UNLESS YOU HAVE A WAY TO KEEP YOURSELF AWAY FROM THE DUST. 
(YOU WILL ALSO NEED A STRONG STOMACH IF YOU USE A CARBON FILTER RESPIRATOR. BONE CAN MAKE VERY DISGUSTING SMELLS)
Bone
And a dremel with a diamond bit, a drill bit, and sanding bits with sand paper .

To make better designs you will also need:
Sand paper 300, (600, 1000 are optional. I don't have any and will explain what to do if you don't have any either)
A jewelers saw with the coarsest blade you can find
1 needle files (The one is the coarseness of the file)
a tooth brush
Baking soda
and a Linen towel

Step 2: Find Insperation

To find ideas for designs I look at amazon.com, tribal tattoo's  and other peoples work.

Then I enter GIMP and draw my design and print it out. (If like 15 people request it I will make a GIMP tutorial on how to make templates.)

Then I get ready to carve

I recommend that beginners start off making harpoon tips to get used to the material and tools they are using.

Step 3: Trace Your Template on Your Bone.

Trace your template on your bone!

Step 4: Start Making Your "Blank"

1. Sand down the edges of the bone until it is flat.

2. Cut out your pater roughly using the jewelery saw leaving about 3/4 a centimeter around your pattern.

3. Round off the edges of the blank carefully with the dremel and sandpaper bit 





Step 5: Add the Rest of Your Patern

I drew  a little wave inside the pendant by removing negative space.

Step 6: Drill Holes Into the Area That Needs to Be Removed

Drill a hole into the area that needs to be removed and then insert the saw blade in the hole.

Step 7: Cut Out the Space.

Cut out the space.

Step 8: Sand Baby, Sand!

Sand all the edges with 300 grit sandpaper.
If you have needle files clean up the edges and round them out, you can also use the diamond dremel bit to do this but it often looks very sloppy.

Step 9: Now Make It Bling.

Sand the pendent with the 600 and 1000 grit sandpaper.

If you don't have the sand paper you can use this method.
Mix baking soda with water and then shake it up. 

Pour the mixture out on the linen towel and put your pendant in the middle.

fold the mixture over the pendant and rub it between your hands for about a half hour.

Step 10: Put It on a Necklace or Key Fob... Whatever You Want.

By now you should have a pendant :)

Tips and Tricks 
Step Three: Add more space depending on how sharp you want your edges to be.

Step Five: Draw your pattern smaller than you want it to be to avoid messing it up.

Step Six: Work slowly cutting out this pattern took me an hour and a half... and thats because i was rushing which caused me to break five saw blades.

Step Nine: This one is for cheaters only, after your pendant is flawless coat it with a a few layers of clear nail paint and then carefully sand that down to make your pendant extremely shiny. 

Step Ten: READ MY TIPS.

1 Person Made This Project!

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44 Comments

0
Toa676
Toa676

10 years ago on Introduction

For all of you that are starting up, all these tools to start up if you are in the US you can get the majority of the hand tools from Harbor Freight. Needle files, large regular hand files, to substitute the Jewelers saw you can get a coping saw. Almost exactly the the same except the Jewelers blades are much thinner and for finer cuts. Practicing with the coping saw before buying the other one, would be the best way. The Dremels are the best to get, kind of expensive Harbor Freight has a cheaper version more economical if you're starting out. And the burr kits at harbor freight are way cheaper with the same or more of variety of burrs that can help you speed up the process of carving bones. The burrs are the technical term for the little tips you put into the Dremel or what ever kind you're using to help carve the bones. As for where to get your bones the local butcher at your grocery store if you ask will give them to you, or a meat processor these are the places that pre- process the meat before coming to the grocery store. The local one here said I could have as much as I wanted. We're talking like full femur's with knuckles, only problem they still have tendons, meat ,hair etc. to be cleaned by you. There's sites that give you the ways to clean those. If, you need design ideas put bone carving in as a search you'll be amazed at what you see. I'm Polynesian most of the designs you'll see are Maori ( Natives of New Zealand ) designs. Many of them have special and specific meanings, my family is from another Island and my designs are focusing to the natives from our Island ( Tonga ). Hopefully this will help those of you that are starting out, I wished I had as much information as I have provided for you, I have more info just ask ? See ya

0
scrapy magoo
scrapy magoo

10 years ago on Introduction

are the files seperate to the dremmel or do they attach? does it make a difference how fresh the bone is?
i got some good bits and some burnt bits still waiting for the fleshybones to settle...

0
xanxor
xanxor

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

separate. they are jewlers file, if you can get diamond ones at 0 or 00 coarseness. they are kinda expensive tough. what you'll need most are a ound file a half round and a flat file.

I used a cow bone from pet-co. I think that you might want to use sun bleached bones if possible. or boiled and bleached ones


(please wear a respirator)

0
Aunt Jane
Aunt Jane

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I went to the local Meat market and told them I wanted large leg bones. They cut them on their saw to manageable lengths. Then you have to clean and degrease!

0
kate.oboyle1
kate.oboyle1

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

So Jane in order to get bone I should go to my local butcher? Hahah I'm an artist and I've done probably every single art type possible, except this one and I love the necklaces so I wanted to get into it. I've been making them out of wood but I can't find bone samples anywhere..any tips?

-Katie Bizz

0
Aunt Jane
Aunt Jane

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

In some places finding a real butcher that actually cuts up beef carcases may be difficult. I've been told that moose bones are good but haven't managed to get one yet! Cleaning the bone and soaking it in detergent/degreaser is what I've been doing and then if it isn't white enough I've used chlorine bleach but most experts say not to. One website suggested soaking in an ammonia/water solution. I don't think you are supposed to boil. Just experiment! The bones I used to buy my dog at Petco have flavor added so I don't think they are a great idea.

I use my Dremel tool on it BTW

You might also try Targua nuts (vegetable ivory). Smaller pieces and very hard but pretty! this is one source - have fun!

http://www.oneworldprojects.net/Public/CraftSuppli... - or -

http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=32719... -

0
TimF120
TimF120

Reply 10 months ago

I use hydrogen peroxide for bleaching without causing major damage to the structure of the material. Even have gone as far as getting the stuff they use for bleaching hair (high concentration of H2O2) and a bit of heat/warmth and it comes out fantastic within a few hours

0
Aunt Jane
Aunt Jane

Reply 10 months ago

Thanks! I am starting to pick up my carving again. Will try Hydrogen peroxide

0
Skwaab
Skwaab

11 years ago on Introduction

I noticed whilst dremeling it, the smell isnt too bad.

Smells like cheesy dorito's. And for the dust, its not too much of a problem, thats what mucus is for.

0
xanxor
xanxor

Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

Not really bone dust is horrible on your lungs up there with asbestos and that crap. It's your choice to wear a mask or something, but I'd recommend it.

0
TimF120
TimF120

Reply 10 months ago

Can confirm, its very similar to "black lung" from early coal miners.

0
Photohawk
Photohawk

6 years ago

In regard to bone dust, check out, paloemanjim on youtube. He uses a fan to gently blow the dust away from his work area. He discusses it in part 1 of his flint knapping beginners video. My son and i just started a creative journey of knapping and carving. Learning all i can on line. Nice instructable, Thanks!!!!!

0
TimF120
TimF120

Reply 10 months ago

I'm actually planning on making a mini downdraft table out of some scrap wood and a piece of peg board with a hole to hook up a vacuum hose.

0
Katshennadesigns
Katshennadesigns

Question 11 months ago

Hi, I just got a beautiful pair of cream colored bone carved guages (earrings). They are a little to thick and I’d like to grind them down to a smaller size, it’s only a little bit. But I really want to get them back to being very smooth after I sand them because their going in my ears. What do u recommend to get them shiny and smooth? A nail buffer? I don’t want to put nail polish on them bc my ears might hate it. Thank you, love your tutorial.

0
TimF120
TimF120

Answer 10 months ago

Hi, as someone who makes ear jewlery out of antler and bone, in a pinch I use whitening (must be whitening) toothpaste to get a pretty solid shine after some sandpaper. You can use about the same amount you would for brushing. It's a bit messy but I prefer working it in with my fingers like you were trying to rinse of caked on dirt. Once it starts to feel like it's getting dry, you can either add a couple of drops of water to rehydrate or rinse and dry with a soft, preferably cotton or microfiber cloth. Hope that helps!

0
DaniD60
DaniD60

Tip 2 years ago

For a good variety of legitimate bone cleaned and ready to go without usage of chemicals that can cause brittling and breakage check out Moscow Hide and Fur! hideandfur.com They have everything from misc bones and fur scraps to whole skulls from everything from Ferrets to Black Bears. Just be sure to follow your state legislation!

0
SuzieK13
SuzieK13

Question 3 years ago on Step 3

Hi, do you use raw bone or cooked?

0
LyndaF8
LyndaF8

4 years ago

Hi there, you don't seem to explain where to get the bone. Are there ready made 'blanks' you can buy or do you go to the butchers and ask for bones which then have to be cleaned? I'm in New Zealand and would like to know if 'blanks' can be bought here. Thanks. largelyhappy@hotmail.com

aned?

0
kate.oboyle1
kate.oboyle1

7 years ago on Introduction

Hello everyone,

I'm having a tough time trying to just find the uncarved bone pieces. I've tried everywhere including fire mountain gems since they usually have everything...does anyone know a supplier that sells the bone uncarved so that I can make my own designs? Thanks for any support : D

0
artgalaxy1
artgalaxy1

Reply 6 years ago

go to a pet store and look for dog bones, often they will have exactly what you need